Putting the future in communities' hands

Mobilizing threatened West African communities around a future they can fight for, through the power of law and community-driven development

Founded in 2016, ACA is a U.S. and Ghana-based non-profit organization that puts legal and organizing tools in the hands of threatened West African communities. We are building an ecosystem of lawyers and other experts who collaborate with communities to defend communities’ rights and pursue their own vision of development in the face of destructive resource extraction operations driven by foreign investment. We help mobilize communities to define for themselves a vision for the future that is appropriate to them, and then fight for and reach that future through community-driven development planning, financial support, and legal assistance.

Since ACA’s founding in 2016, our accomplishments have included:

  • Successfully lobbying for Ghana’s first state-sponsored community-led development initiative resulting in an MOU with the local government to scale up our methodology throughout the district in 2022.

  • Funding micro-loans for mining-affected women in Sierra Leone to design and launch their own businesses after a diamond mine destroyed their livelihoods
  • Establishing a network of West African public interest lawyers who collaborate through technical and moral support
  • Obtaining confidential documents from a mining company to draw links between its owners and human rights violations against a village in Sierra Leone.
  • Sponsoring 2 new young lawyers every year to serve as Legal Fellows in West African law offices, boosting the capacity of local organizations and promoting opportunities to practice public interest law
  • Mobilizing 7 Ghanaian communities to develop and implement their own community development vision through collective action
  • Holding the Guinea government accountable to the ECOWAS Court of Justice for massacring a village in 2012. ACA also uncovered evidence that a mining company was complicit in the attack.
  • Guiding a grass-roots impacts survey in a Nigerian community that resulted in the OECD ordering mediation proceedings in 2019 between the community and an oil company whose operations cause catastrophic flooding
  • Inspiring the formation of Côte d’Ivoire’s first university legal clinic, which will focus on communities and the extractive industries
  • Prompting Ghana’s national Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs to order an investigation into a community’s claims against their traditional leader’s unjust eviction campaign

We invite you to learn more about our impact on each Case page

Our Team

Jonathan Kaufman

Executive Director

Meet Jonathan, our inspiring founder! He was once a Finalist for Public Citizen’s Trial Lawyer of the Year award and advised the U.S. State Department on holding corporations accountable for human rights and environmental abuse. He has worked on all six inhabited continents, holds degrees from Yale, Harvard and Princeton, and speaks Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, and French. He’s like a language wizard! Join him in his quest for justice.

Eric Amamoo

Finance Manager

Eric is a practicing accountant with a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce (B.COM) and MBA from University of Cape Coast. He has four years experience at the Ministry of Finance as a Budget Analyst. He is also the Director of Finance and Administration of the Centre for Environmental Impact Analysis. For over a decade, Eric as the Regional Finance and Administrative Officer managed the finances of the Central Regional offices of Ghana’s principal government-run Microfinance and Small Loans Scheme (MASLOC). In addition to Financial Management, Eric is the author of a book entitled “The Chronicle of Wisdom”.

Nana Ama Nketia-Quaidoo

Community Development Director

Meet Nana Ama Nketia-Quaidoo, our passionate Community Development Director! With a heart for positive change, she’s led community projects with USAID, empowered mining-affected communities, and even rocked the airwaves as a Broadcast Journalist. Nana Ama, a former teacher, holds an MBA in Human Resource Management and a Bachelor’s in Ghanaian Languages. Her dedication to making a difference shines through at ACA!

Osei Nimako

Project Manager

Hailing from the serene landscapes of Donkro Nkwanta in the heart of the Brong Ahafo Region, Osei Nimako brings a wealth of experience and a fervent dedication to his role as a project manager at ACA. Before becoming an integral part of our team, Osei devoted several years to shaping young minds as a high school teacher. Amid his commitment to community causes, Osei nurtures a hidden talent—he’s an avid poet. When not immersed in project timelines, you can often find him penning verses that reflect his unique perspective on life and society.

Elfried Dossavi-Messy

Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning Coordinator

Elfried is a specialist in the evaluation of public programs and policies. He has 10 years’ experience working on national and international development projects with cooperation agencies such as GIZ. He has actively contributed to citizen evaluations of public governance in Benin with the NGO West African Network Peacebuilding, as well as other research on youth involvement in the decision-making process. For these contributions, he has received several awards, including the Young Leaders of Benin Award (2014) from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation, the TOYP Award from JCI in 2016, and the New Leaders of the Future Award from the Crans Montana Forum in 2017. 

Lalla Moulati Toure

Legal Director

Lalla is a Malian jurist with over a decade of experience leading legal advocacy struggles for human rights in her home country.  Prior to joining ACA, she worked for the Association malien des Droits de l’Homme, International Federation for Human rights, and the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative.  She founded a legal clinic in Gao to assist enslaved Malians, supported farming communities that were in danger of losing their land, and assisted workers in unfair dismissal cases.  Lalla has been involved with many cases before the Malian courts, as well as the African Commission and African Court of Human and People’s Rights.  She holds a Masters Degree in human rights from the University of Nantes as well as a legal degree from the University of Mali.

Kwabina Ibrahim

Science Adviser

Kwabina Ibrahim is a Geoscientist who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology and Chemistry and an MPhil degree in Geology from the University of Ghana.  He has worked with several mining companies across the West African sub-region. He has an in depth knowledge of all the processes and activities associated with the various types of mining and mineral exploration activities. He is an expert in environmental impact assessment and environmental monitoring. Some of his research works has been published in high impact peer reviewed Scopus journals.

Abigail Addei

Accounting Assistant

Abigail holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics. She completed her national service with the Fraud Risk Management Team at Scancom Ghana Ltd (MTN Ghana) and gained valuable experience as a Former NABCO Trainee at Citizen Rural Bank Ltd. Her education and work experiences reflect her strong background in economics, information management, and risk management in both telecommunications and banking sectors. She currently doing her professional course in chartered accountancy at ICAG. She infuses the office with a vibrant sense of joy and positivity.

Francis Manu

Field Officer

Meet Francis , a true son of Donkro Nkwanta nestled within the vibrant Bono East Region of Ghana. A man of multifaceted talents, he seamlessly balances his roles as a sports enthusiast and a dedicated businessman. However, his heart beats loudest for community development, as evidenced by his unwavering commitment to fostering positive change. Aside from his commitment to community betterment, Francis finds solace and joy on the football field.


George Mpoah

Field Officer

Meet George, a proud son of Northern Ghana with an impressive journey. From being a Credit Risk Manager at TI Microfinance Ltd in Accra to driving financial excellence at African Turning Point Foundation, his dedication shines in Development and project management. Holding a BSc in Administration (Insurance and Risk Management) from the University of Ghana, he is pursuing an Msc development Management with Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana. Join us in celebrating his dynamic path and future endeavors.

Mustapha A. Mahamah

Legal Officer

Meet Mustapha, our dedicated and seasoned legal expert. A bilingual lawyer and passionate Human Rights advocate with a wealth of expertise in International Law, Human rights Constitutional Law, and Governance. Holding two bachelor’s degrees in Law and Social Work, he’s been a driving force for change In Ghana over the past 15 years. With a strong commitment to community empowerment, Mustapha plays a pivotal role in ensuring equitable legal representation and environmental justice in West Africa.

Emyloia kpadonou

Comunication Officer

Emyloia Kpadonou, our dedicated Communication Officer, combines her digital communication background with a passion for social justice to drive positive change at ACA. She leads strategic communication efforts, excels in crafting compelling narratives, and leverages innovative strategies to amplify the organization’s mission. Emyloia’s unique contributions, including her commitment to empowering marginalized communities, make her an invaluable asset. Beyond work, she explores her creativity through photography and writing, loves traveling, and collects postcards from around the world to foster cultural connections.

Richard Kofi Boahen

Comunication Officer

Richard Kofi Boahen is a seasoned Communication Officer with over two decades of experience in Journalism and Public Relations. He holds a degree in Communication Studies and a Journalism Diploma. At ACA, he manages strategic communication, maintains the website, builds media relationships, and drafts press releases. Richard’s expertise and commitment to effective communication are vital to ACA’s success. Beyond work, he enjoys travel, family time, and keeping up with trending social media content for relaxation.

Koulemou Yéréké

Legal Officer

Meet Koulemou Yéréké: a seasoned Guinean defender driving change. Holding a Master’s from Conakry’s Gamal Abdel Nasser University, he’s a human rights champion, corporate legal advisor, and defender of vulnerable individuals. From fighting discrimination to advocating for victims of gender-based violence and for communities affected by the extractive industries, his expertise shines. As ACA’s Guinea representative and Simandou campaign coordinator, he leads with resolve.

Beyond law, he’s a mountain-loving explorer and avid scrabble player.

Jonathan Komla Agbenyega

M&E Officer

Jonathan is a bilingual and results-driven M&E Officer with 17+ years of experience in designing and managing M&E systems in humanitarian and development settings. He excels in data analysis, driving program improvement. Jonathan’s passion for creating positive impacts extends to ACA’s work in Ghana and abroad. His key responsibilities include data collection, quality assurance, and logical framework development. Beyond work, he finds joy in supporting others to achieve their goals and in his spiritual journey.

Board of Directors

Nnimmo Bassey (President) is a Nigerian architect, environmentalist activist, author and poet, who chaired Friends of the Earth International from 2008 through 2012 and was Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action for two decades. He was one of Time magazine’s Heroes of the Environment in 2009. In 2010, Nnimmo Bassey was named co-winner of the Right Livelihood Award, and in 2012 he was awarded the Rafto Prize. He serves on the Advisory Board and is Director of the Health of Mother Earth Foundation, an environmental think tank and advocacy organization.

Rachel Davis (Treasurer) is the Managing Director and Treasurer of the Shift Project. She is an Australian lawyer with extensive experience in business and human rights, having worked with business, in government and civil society settings. She served for five years as a legal advisor to Professor John Ruggie, the former Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Business and Human Rights, as part of his core advisory team that helped develop the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Previously, Rachel served as a strategy and policy advisor to the UN Special Advisor on the “Responsibility to Protect” at the International Peace Institute in New York. She clerked at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague and at the High Court of Australia. Rachel has a Masters in Law from Harvard Law School and Bachelors degrees in Law and Politics from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, where she also lectured and published in law.

Ian Gary is the executive director of the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition and is a senior policy, research and advocacy professional with over 25 years of experience in fiscal transparency and accountability, international development, and the reform of natural resource governance.  Prior to joining The FACT Coalition as executive director, Ian directed Oxfam America’s policy and advocacy work focused on promoting transparent and accountable financial flows – for example from oil and mining revenues, taxes and aid – to fight poverty.  Based in Washington, DC, Ian led a team of policy managers, advisors and researchers. Prior to joining Oxfam in 2005, Ian was Strategic Issues Advisor for Africa and Strategic Issues Advisor for Extractive Industries at Catholic Relief Services (CRS) from 1999 to 2005. He has held positions with the Ford Foundation as well as international development organizations in the U.S. and Africa.

Michelle Harrison (Vice President) is a Staff Attorney at EarthRights International. She graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2012 where she received the Robert F. Kennedy ‘51 Public Service Fellowship to work with ERI for a year. She then remained at ERI as a Bertha Foundation Fellow. While at UVA, worked in Tanzania for the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and with the Innocence Project, providing post-conviction representation. Michelle holds a B.A. in Political Science and Environmental Science and a minor in French from Miami University. At ERI, Michelle has defended the First Amendment rights of activists against abusive discovery from Chevron, helped defend the Dodd-Frank extractive industry disclosure rules on behalf of Oxfam America, and worked on ERI’s U.S. litigation against Chiquita for human rights abuses and Union Carbide (Dow Chemical) for environmental abuses. She is admitted to practice law in Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Marco Simons is Americas Regional Program Director and General Counsel at EarthRights International. He oversees ERI’s use of legal strategies to work with communities around the world in protecting their human rights and their environment. With ERI, Marco has served as counsel on transnational corporate accountability cases including Doe v. Unocal, Wiwa v. Shell, Bowoto v. Chevron, and MaynasCarijano v. Occidental Petroleum, and submitted amicus briefs in numerous other cases. He has written or coauthored several articles and publications on corporate accountability for earth rights abuses as well as taught college and law school courses on human rights. Marco previously worked for ERI on the Robert L. Bernstein Fellowship in International Human Rights after graduating from Yale Law School. Prior to returning to ERI, he clerked for the Honorable Dorothy Wright Nelson on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and worked for the civil rights law firm Hadsell & Stormer, which was co-counsel on Doe v. Unocal and Bowoto v. Chevron. Marco holds an undergraduate degree in environmental science and, prior to law school, worked on developing educational materials on conservation biology. He is currently admitted to practice in California, Washington, D.C., and Washington State, as well as in the U.S. Supreme Court and several other federal courts.